The Crooked Road, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, has announced that bluegrass singer and songwriter Johnny Williams will serve as their 2022-2023 Artist In Residence.
Johnny has been a staple in the southwestern Virginia traditional music scene for more than 30 years, working with his own group, with his wife as Johnny & Jeanette Williams, and as a member of bands like Clearwater, Big Country Bluegrass Band, Freeman and Williams Trio, Blue 58, Shelton & Williams, and the Larry McPeak Tribute Band.
As a writer, he has twice won the bluegrass division of the Chris Austin Songwriting Content at MerleFest, and had songs recorded by The Jeanette Williams Band, Rambler’s Choice, New Classic Grass, Larry Stephenson, Special Consensus, and Mark Newton. Williams was also a regular co-writer with Tom T and Dixie Hall when they were still alive. His classic Last Day of Galax has been adopted as an official anthem by those who spend a week every August at Felts Park for the Old Fiddlers Convention, for its depiction of that sense of loss everyone feels packing up after many days of music and fraternity at Galax.
His latest album, So Much Time, So Much Love, with Shelton & Williams (Johnny Williams, Jeanette Williams, and Jay Shelton) is available now from popular download and streaming services online.
Dylan Locke, President of The Crooked Road Board of Directors, says…
“Johnny Williams is a well-respected part of the bluegrass music community. He will bring a high level of expertise, connections and experience to this appointment as the 2nd Artist-in-Residence for The Crooked Road.”
The duties of the Crooked Road Artist In Residence include:
- Produce an original piece of music for The Crooked Road use
- Conduct at least 2 in-person educational workshop/master classes over the course of the residency
- Prerecord a virtual lesson on heritage music for distribution to school systems of the region
- Participate in various Crooked Road concerts, as scheduled, or at partner venue concerts
Johnny will also assist with such promotional efforts and materials as may be required during his tenure.
He says that he greatly appreciates this appointment.
“Working with The Crooked Road in this position is a great opportunity and I’m incredibly honored and excited to be the new Artist In Residence. I look forward to sharing my passion for heritage music with audiences all along the Crooked Road.”
On October 6 he will be part of a a big songwriting workshop with Jeanette Williams, Louisa Branscomb, and Larry Cordle at Mountain Empire Community College. Only 30 writers will be able to attend this hands-on seminar with these hitmakers working with them. More details can be found online.
The Crooked Road is a 330 mile driving trail through the mountains of Southwest Virginia that connects nine major venues and over 60 affiliated venues and festivals where visitors can sample traditional food, art, music, and craft all year long. They are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization formed to use the area’s rich history of traditional music as a draw for tourism and economic development in southwestern Virginia.
Congratulations to Johnny for this honor, and to The Crooked Road for getting him.